14 April 2004

Jaguar marked the world debut of its long-wheelbase XJ with a plush spin-off show car designed as the last word in Jaguar luxury.

Concept Eight (above) revolves around the twin themes of comfort and indulgence, according to Jaguar, and features new 21-inch five-spoke alloys, a full-length darkened glass roof, a red LED lighting strip running the length of the cabin and two individual leather rear armchairs.

Other interior features include a DVD system, 14-speaker Alpine stereo, champagne cooler with bespoke Waterford Crystal glasses integrated into the centre console, along with the expected walnut finish.

Outside, the car is standard long-wheelbase XJ, with the exception of a deeper front spoiler and new Range Rover-esque chrome ‘gills’ behind the front wheels, which could appear in future production models such as the next XK or S-type.

The company denies that the Concept Eight is a blueprint for the next Daimler, set to return next year with a new model based on the XJ. ‘Daimler is very much in our thoughts, but we need to make sure the car and the brand are right for each other, and we’re not just sticking a Daimler badge on a Jaguar,’ said Phil Popham, managing director of Jaguar.

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The long-wheelbase XJ (right), due in September, is 5in longer than the standard model and will initially be powered only by the supercharged 4.2-litre V8. A smaller-capacity version may appear in the future, primarily for the chauffeur-driven market. Expect a premium of £2500.

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